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Disclaimer and personal opinions

Manali, India


Judging by the number of comments on this blog (like five or so - with a big shout out to Uncle Russ, Juelsgaard, Newquist, and Sarah), we're not exactly setting any new records for website visits. As such, I'm going to take the liberty of using this space as less of a travel blog and more of a personal journal for my own record and amusement. Read on if you like, but please excuse the use of a new audience: My good self. If you are interested, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this stuff. I'm pretty sure some of it is controversial, but there's no time to play it safe. So, that's my disclaimer if you are troubled or offended. Read on at your own risk!

  • Song*


  • It doesn't matter who you are,
    It doesn't matter where you've been.
    Now that we've come this far,
    We'll find our way back again.

    This is for all you soul searchers,
    The universal Truth thirsters.
    Take a moment to watch your breath,
    The law of Nature will cover the rest.

    Chorus: Ride on the wave, sit under a tree, stay with the flow, set yourself free.

    The Earth wants us to clearly see,
    The revelation of how everything goes.
    Control your mind and you're truly free.
    The way is right on the tip of your nose.

    If you choose to go down this path,
    Don't listen to anyone's wrath.
    Moment by moment you'll find the way,
    Seek peace in what you think, do, and say.

    Chorus

    Bridge: The flow is in you, check out your heartbeat. The same flow of a stream, or grass beneath your feet. The flow is in you, and you are the Earth.


    It all begins and ends in your mind,
    Reality is not so easy to find.
    Our planet needs us to figure it out,
    To discover her secret, beyond any doubt.

    Deepest wisdom can't be found in a book,
    Each one of us must give our own look.
    If we observe the world with awareness,
    We'll stop depleting resources that are scarcest.


    -----------

    A healthy and graceful crane flew just above the flow of the river and swooped down to a perfect landing on the bank opposite me. I took a couple of inquisitive steps for a closer examination of the beauty, and the crane carried it away with a few flaps of it's wings. A passing crow followed the flight path and began to stir a nuissance. Not to be disturbed from it's nibbanic peace, the crane perfectly fended off the crow.

    Another moment passes, everything changes. Start again. By the time you begin to start again, all is different already. How to live in this constant state of flux? Just be where you are. Aware and balanced, like the crane, remain inside the flow, even when needing to deal with the unfortunate task of brushing off an irritable crow. The flow is in you, and you are the Earth.

    -----------

    We must approach the climate issue and resource depletion not with an attitude of fear and martrydom, but with creativity, confidence, and abundance. The Earth wants us to discover her secret: the only constant is change. In business, this is increasingly true. Business will lead the way to more positive/sustainable behavior patterns once an enlightened citizenry creates demand for enlightened goods and services. Our collective planetary crisis will never be solved until we address our individual spriritual crises, and ask ourselves why it is that we consume so much shit. Have you ever contemplated the size of the pile of waste you've created in your life? I have, and it is pretty disgusting.

    ---------

    Even if it were a possiblity for me in this lifetime, I'm not entirely convinced that full "enlightenment" should be my highest goal. Although eternal bliss, equanimity, harmony, peace, etc. sound nice, then people would come to you for all the answers to their problems. While it would be a priviledge to help those that you can, the masses would invariably misinterpret your message, make an idol out of you, and eventually create another religion with a bunch of eventually irrelevant traditions and holidays and stuff. It all too easily serves to misguide the individual search for Truth.

    Perhaps the most good I can do in this life (my goal) is not to become "enlightened", but to continue along a meditative path while putting my best skills to work. It occured to me today what a genuinely fortunate situation I am in to have been recently awarded an entrepreneurial fellowship in the CU MBA program. If I can take advantage of this opportunity, we could bring about some real positive change. Now I just have to come up with a business plan to help restore our natural resources...

    --------------

    I continue to contemplate the messages in Atlas Shrugged, which I finished reading over a month ago (and have digested a couple of other books since then). One of my favorite lines in the book is delivered by John Galt: "Reason accepts no commandments." You must experience it yourself in order to discover Truth. I think a few rules and pointers along the way can be useful, but too easily we can become dependent on them.

    Also, probably the best dissertation on money that I've come across is given by the wonderful and controversial character of Francisco D'Anconia at Jim Taggert's wedding (or engagement?) party. It's just great. Money does not have to be the root of all evil.

    One of the central themes which particularly jolted me was that of the industrialists as heroes. They are the few in society who produce more than they consume. In other words, they are responsible for creating more goods and services than they deplete, even with their opulant lifestyles. What Rand perhaps failed to see is that these figures are only heroes if these goods and services that the industrialists produce are beneficial for multiple generations, if not indefinitely. To my mind, this has not been the case with most of the industrialists to date. In the book, the "looters" are the enemy, and are comprised of those who consume more than they produce, thus living off of the industrialists. I realized I've been a looter all my life, and my desire to run a business and be a producer could actually be a noble pursuit.

    Too many atrocities have been committed in the name of the "public good" and with a mantra of "sacrifice" (Mao, Pol Pot, etc.). These are the words which Ayn Rand admonishes in the book. As I appear to be joining the capitalist ranks by going for my MBA in a couple of months, I'm becoming more comfortable with putting aside some of my more socialist thought patterns. I think the "public good" is best served by the individual pursuit of happiness and freedom. That sounds like something Thomas Jefferson might agree with.

    Another idea from the book that I really agreed with is that the purpose of an individual's life is to increase their happiness. No one else can do that for you, and it is not a bad thing to be looking out for yourself through the use of reason and self-confidence. The protagonists in the book (namely Dagny Taggert and Hank Reardon and Francisco D'Anconia) adhere to this philosophy. Though they may be ego-maniacal and perhaps even narcissistic, they illustrate the point that great men and women are happy and productive because of an unwavering self-confidence and application of sound logic to conduct their lives. I've always been pretty keen on happiness, reason, and myself. Despite constantly being told by my mother as a child that the world doesn't revolve around me, I was never convinced. I've never been a very good humble servant, though I've certainly tried and I have immense admiration and respect for those who fill that role. I guess the book helped me to realize that I don't have to apologize for my confidence, and that it could very well be my best character trait. I believe humility is a virtue, but I don't think that pride/confidence has to be a vice. When asked during my interview at CU to describe a personal weakness, I pointed toward my pride. I think I'd like to rescind that answer, and instead go with my inferior quantitative skills!

    Buddhism also holds as a principle tenet that all sentient beings should be happy and pursue their self-interest. There seems to be no need to apologize for confidence/pride in this context. Indeed, it could be perceived as selfish/prideful for a monk to think that he has a real chance at full liberation/enlightenment and to work toward that end. The entire purpose of meditation is to break the pattern of creating your own misery through the arising of fear and desire. I dig it. So I say let's stop apologizing for being self-centered, prideful, and happy!

    It occurred to me during the meditation retreat that perhaps the single greatest action you can take for humanity and for our Earth is to realize inner peace. It is only in that state that you can really perceive the universal Truth/law of Nature/God and be of service to it. What good am I to anyone if I am miserable? I vote for freedom and happiness through reason and self-exploration.

    ----------------

    From the healing of a cut on your finger to the restoration of a forest after a fire, Nature has absolutely amazing regenerative capacity. This is what must somehow be harnessed in the marketplace.



    permalink written by  Katy and Mark Lewis on June 20, 2009 from Manali, India
    from the travel blog: India and Nepal
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    Judging from the discussions I heard on July 4 regarding your blog and your exploits, I think you have quite a following. Several of the older generation had no idea how the comment thing works.


    permalink written by  Sam Sharp on July 13, 2009

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    Katy and Mark Lewis Katy and Mark Lewis
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    We are two siblings from Colorado (aged 24 and 26) who find ourselves simultaneously between a job and a graduate school program. We both came down with a case of itchy feet, so we're going searching for the cure while we've got the chance!

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